Research Services REF 2029: Updates and Rationale

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Research Services REF 2029 introduces changes in the assessment exercise aimed at promoting high-quality, inclusive, and impactful research. The shift to institutional and disciplinary levels, new assessed elements, and emphasis on research culture highlight a broader view of research excellence and societal engagement.


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Research Services REF 2029: Updates and Rationale

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  1. RESEARCH SERVICES REF 2029: background and updates January 2024 Dr Anne Mortimer, Research Evaluation Lead, Research Strategy & Policy Unit (anne.mortimer@admin.ox.ac.uk)

  2. RESEARCH SERVICES Purpose of the REF The REF funding bodies have agreed 3 purposes for the exercise: inform the allocation of block-grant research funding to HEIs based on research quality; provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment; and provide insights into the health of research in HEIs in the UK. https://www.jisc.ac.uk/future-research-assessment-programme/initial-decisions

  3. RESEARCH SERVICES Rationale of the design of the REF 2029 The changes create an assessment exercise that will underpin: a research system that produces high is open open to all; an inclusive and collaborative inclusive and collaborative research system that supports a diversity diversity of people, ideas, institutions, methodologies, outputs, and activities; and an engaged and impactful engaged and impactful research system that connects research with wider society to bring about positive socio-economic change. high- -quality, rigorous quality, rigorous research that https://www.jisc.ac.uk/future-research-assessment-programme/initial-decisions

  4. RESEARCH SERVICES REF 2029 changes in approach from REF 2021 Shift from assessment at an individual level to an institutional and Shift from assessment at an individual level to an institutional and disciplinary level disciplinary level: Staff volume determined by average of at least two years of data from HESA staff return determines number of outputs and impact case studies, but no staff list submission Decoupling of staff and outputs New assessed narrative elements to provide a broader view Emphasis on support for research culture

  5. RESEARCH SERVICES REF 2029 components The new assessed elements will be: Contribution to Knowledge and Understanding (50%) Engagement and Impact (25%) People, Culture and Environment (25%) The disciplinary structure (Units of Assessment, or UOAs) will be the same as for REF 2021.

  6. RESEARCH SERVICES Contribution to element Overall contribution Element Weighting Submission component Outputs at most 90% 45% Contribution to knowledge and understanding 50% Disciplinary-level statement at least 10% 5% Impact case studies 80% for units >40FTE 20% Engagement and Impact 25% Disciplinary-level statement 20% for units >40FTE 5% People, culture and environment Disciplinary-level statement at most 80% 20% 25% Institutional-level statement at least 20% 5%

  7. RESEARCH SERVICES Timetable Summer/Autumn 2024 Further decisions and OA policy published Summer/Autumn 2025 Publish full draft guidance Winter 2025/26 Guidance on Submissions and Panel Criteria & Working Methods published Spring 2027 Submission intentions survey deadline Autumn 2027 Autumn 2028 Staff HESA returns determining staff volume for REF 2029 Nov 2028 Submission deadline Dec 2029 Results published

  8. RESEARCH SERVICES Framework development Announcements to date: Future Research Assessment programme evaluation activity Initial decisions Next steps December 2023 PCE update January 2024 REF 2029 website: www.ref.ac.uk

  9. RESEARCH SERVICES Framework development Consultation/policy development to come Open access policy consultation (Winter 2024) Commissioned exploration of metrics/indicators for PCE (2024) PCE pilot (2024/25) Consultation on Guidance on Submissions and Panel Criteria (Autumn 2025)

  10. RESEARCH SERVICES To contribute to consultations, get in touch with your divisional REF Contact Any questions? refinfo@admin.ox.ac.uk

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